To ensure a more diverse legal profession, economic empowerment, and justice for all, Esq. Apprentice creates a debt-free path to law licensing for low-income youth of color.
Low-income youth of color face overwhelming barriers to obtaining gainful employment. In California, about 40% of youth of color drop out of high school. For those who graduate, 1 in 3 are not prepared for entry-level college courses in English or reading. In the legal field, law student enrollment increases annually while the number of law students of color is declining. The cost of law school is a barrier: nearly 85% of law students take out an average of $100,000 in loan debt. Such burdening debt places immense pressure on students to seek corporate jobs instead of going where there is the most need; low-income communities. Without post-secondary education, finding employment is difficult. Youth with juvenile records are even less likely to attain employment. The jobs that are available are often low-wage and provide few career development opportunities. For low-income youth of color, especially those with records, the pipeline to gainful employment is broken.
Esq. Apprentice (Esq.) responds to these access and affordability challenges by using California’s existing legal apprenticeship program to create a formal, no-cost pipeline for non-traditional law students to gain entry into and re-imagine the legal profession. Esq Apprentice creates a new path path to legal by focusing youth recruitment at the high school, community college, and undergraduate levels and engaging a professional community of lawyers to mentor, directly supervise, and encourage apprentices. Esq. Apprentice creates a clear pipeline to law licensing because the current avenues are broken. Esq. Apprentice is the first program of its kind.
Stage of Development
- Early Stage
- Established Prototype
Organization to Receive Funds